Cambridge-based Fieldwork Robotics has raised £1.5 million in an ongoing fundraise which hopes to reach over £2 million. The ongoing round is continuing as a Seedrs campaign which is looking to bank £600,000 in funding. The commitment of £1.5 million comes from Elbow Beach Capital, with Frontier IP, a family office and other existing investors following on in this round.
Fieldwork Robotics has developed a harvesting tool for berry farms. The AI-supported robot is a response to the dwindling numbers of seasonal workers available to fruit and vegetable producers in the UK. Covid-19, Brexit and the war in Ukraine are being blamed for the reduction in available seasonal labour.
The University of Plymouth spin-out backed by Innovate UK and support from EIT Food has worked in collaboration with Bosch to create its autonomous raspberry harvesting robot, named Alpha. Alpha has been busy harvesting crops on farms in Portugal, where it can work 24 hours a day - the fruits it picks are currently being sold in UK supermarkets including M&S, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
“Elbow Beach Capital are a great strategic and cultural fit for us. As a genuine impact investor, it’s clear that EBC are not only looking for potential value but also at the impact of their investments and how they can make the world a better place. This round will support our work with forward-looking farms looking to solve their labour shortages, reduce crop wastage and mitigate food inflation," says David Fulton, the newly appointed CEO of Fieldwork Robotics.
“The Fieldwork Robotics team combine their significant technical expertise with a drive to create an instant and lasting impact. Agriculture as it stands is not fit for purpose and we need innovative technologies to alleviate the unsustainable levels of waste and improve the economics for the farmer and end customers in the sector. We look forward to working closely with Fieldwork as they tackle this issue head on," says Jon Pollock, CEO of Elbow Beach Capital.